Baburnama, Journal of Emperor Babur

Baburnama: Journal of Emperor Babur

Translated by Annette Susannah Beveridge, (from Chaghtai Turkish)

Abrdiged/Edited by Dilip Hero

Penguin Books

Review: You actually cannot review a treatise written by a King of the likes of Zaheer ud din Baber 🙂 You can just scribble a little about it. The original document translated by Annette Susannah is over 1000 pages with various foot notes in almost microscopic form. So Dilip Hero has done a fine job of condensing it into 350 plus pages.

The book itself is neatly organized in three parts covering his life in Farghana (Babur’s birthplace), Kabul (his conquered territory, and Hindustan (the final dominion). Written in first person (we, in order convey the meaning “hum” in Urdu) it makes an interesting read from the beginning till end. It was surprising to note that the king mantained his journal from an early age 10 years!!! till his final years. Records of a few years are destroyed and that is where the editor has made use of historical narratives and other documents to reconstruct history.

It is interesting to note that Babur makes mention of all territories of Hindustan that he attacked and conquered at various times (total five time, fifth being his final foray into Hindustan), starting from Kabul, the infamous Khyber Pass, Ali Masjid, Bajaur, Bannu, Kohat (my native town 🙂 ) , Peshawar, Hasht nagri, Jhelum, Sialkot, Depalpur, Lahore etc etc. The description of countryside is detailed and he makes mention of the flora and fauna at various places. It was surprising to note that there exsited Rhinos and tigers near Peshawar (Hasht nagri to be exact) in those times.

The King spent most of his life on horseback, a few times coming close to death, almost captured but always surviving, it could make a block buster movie anyday.

His royal higness married 7 times (once to a Yousafzai woman!!) , and had two Circasian girls gifted to him. The Padshah started drinking much later in life, but was fond of Majun. His lineage is traced to Changis Khan on his mother’s side and subsequently to Timur Beg.

A most interesting account being the mention of time and its division in Hindustan.

The various cmapaigns are covered in vivid details , the most interseting ones being his final showdown with Ibrahim Lodhi, and with Marathas. Don’t be shocked to read the making of “tower of heads” by his forces.

The book makes a fine read any day, specially for history buffs. I got it through Liberty Books , in fact I had ot preoder it, and it was delivered in about 6 weeks time.

Highly addictive stuff!

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